Published December 15, 2017
It’s been a rough week for Chamath Palihapitiya, the former Facebook vice president whose harsh criticism of the social networking giant led to a rare rebuke from his onetime employer and made him a headline topic throughout the tech world.
Now he’s trying to put out the fire he started.
During an interview at the Stanford Graduate School of Business last month, Palihapitiya said social media is damaging the fabric of society, adding that he felt “tremendous guilt” for helping the company become the behemoth it is today.
"It literally is at a point now we've created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” said Palihapitiya, who now runs the venture capital firm Social Capital and is a co-owner of the Golden State Warriors.
“That is literally where we are. I would encourage all of you how to internalize this is — if you feed the beast, the beast will destroy you." The remarks, which surfaced only recently, drew a response from Facebook, which said in a statement on Tuesday that “Chamath has not been at Facebook for over six years. Facebook was a very different company back then and as we have grown we have realized how our responsibilities have grown too.”
On Friday, Palihapitiya was seeking closure. Having said that he rarely uses Facebook and that he would not let his own children use it, he went on Facebook to “expand on my comments before we break for the holidays.”
“I made some strong remarks about social media platforms, including Facebook, at an event at Stanford last month that have taken on new life in the past few days,” he wrote. “For all the ensuing controversy, I genuinely believe that Facebook is a force for good in the world, so I’d like to expand on my comments before we break for the holidays….
“My comments were meant to start an important conversation, not to criticize one company — particularly one I love. I think it’s time for society to discuss how we use the tools offered by social media, what we should expect of them and, most importantly, how we empower younger generations to use them responsibly. I’m confident that Facebook and the broader social media category will succeed as they navigate this uncharted territory.”
Fox News' Chris Ciaccia contributed to this report.